Posted on 30. Sep, 2010 in News

Opposition Leader Ted Baillieu has again shown his complete contempt for the people of Geelong by slamming the city’s role in the hosting one of the world’s biggest sporting events, the UCI Road World Championships, Sports Minister James Merlino said today.

Mr Baillieu today wheeled out Shadow Sport spokesman Hugh Delahunty to launch a bizarre attack on the World Championships, claiming they will deliver no benefit to Geelong and will do nothing to build the city’s profile.

In a media release today, Mr Delahunty criticised the promotion of the event saying:

“few would know the event was being held in GeelongHugh Delahunty, media release, 30 September 2010.

“Thousands of Geelong residents are enjoying the benefits of the UCI Road World Championships right now.  They are a fantastic coup for Geelong and regional Victoria, ranking just behind the Tour De France at the pinnacle of world cycling,” Mr Merlino said.

“Ted Baillieu only needs to switch on to the daily live television coverage of the Championships to see how the event is showcasing the city of Geelong to a worldwide audience.

“More than 100 television networks are beaming Geelong – including Moorabool and Pakington Streets, the Esplanade and Eastern Beach, and Queens Park – to more than 400 million viewers as Cadel Evans, Mark Cavendish and Fabian Cancellara competing.

“Ted Baillieu’s disgraceful attack on the World Championships is a slap in the face to event organisers and the people of Geelong, and once again proves the Opposition’s poor form in talking down Victoria’s major events.”

Mr Merlino said the Brumby Labor Government was committed to investing in major sporting and cultural events that boost tourism, investment and continue to showcase Greater Geelong.

“We’ve secured the Road World Championships and provided support to Audi Victoria Week and Rip Curl Pro in Torquay – our Government has also committed $25 million for the third stage of the Skilled Stadium Redevelopment to help bring the FIFA World Cup to the city,” he said.

“The Brumby Labor Government’s vision for Geelong is World Cup football and bringing to Geelong’s Skilled Stadium Twenty 20 cricket, A-league soccer and Super Rugby as well as AFL.

“This is in stark contrast to Ted Baillieu’s only foray into major events in Geelong, which was a disastrous plan to attract the Red Bull Air Race to Corio Bay.

“The lazy Opposition Leader and his colleagues must stop talking down our major events, which provide real benefits to regional Victoria.”

Member for South Barwon Michael Crutchfield said the Opposition had little interest in Geelong and clearly had not heard the commentary on television regularly promoting Geelong.

“Pictures of the Barwon River, foreshore, Queens Park are beaming to a worldwide audience and dollars cannot buy this type of exposure,” Mr Crutchfield said.

“Cycling is extremely popular in this region and events like this will build on that popularity. Also, the Brumby Labor Government is investing in new facilities to encourage more people to take part in cycling, like the brand new Criterium circuit which just opened in Belmont.”

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